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International Institute for Peace through Tourism | India

IIPT Global Ambassadors of Peace Awards, WTM LONDON 2017

Taleb Rifai honoured as a “Global man of Peace”

IIPT felicitates 7 “Global Ambassadors of Peace Through Tourism”

The IPT Global Awards concluded at the WTM London on 6th November before a distinguished international audience comprising the who’s who of the movement for Sustainable Tourism. The awards were preceded by short speeches on “Tourism – A Catalyst for Peace.” The event was hosted by Anita Mendiratta, Managing Director of CACHET Consulting and Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the UNWTO. 

The 2017 IIPT Global Ambassadors of Peace Through Tourism are:

  • HRH Princess Dana Firas of Jordan – Chairperson of the Petra National Trust & UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
  • David Scowsill – CEO EON Reality & Immediate Past President & CEO, WTTC 
  • Mario Hardy – CEO, PATA
  • Fiona Jeffery OBE – Founder, Just a Drop Foundation Foundation
  • Costas Christ – CEO, Beyond Green Travel and Senior Advisor for Sustainable Tourism, National Geographic and Virtuoso
  • Geoffrey Lipman – Director Green Growth & Travelism Institute & Co-Founder SunX Foundation
  • Anita Mendiratta – Managing Director CACHET Consulting, Tourism author & thought leader

The Life time award as a “Global Man of Peace” was conferred on Dr. Taleb Rifai by Louis D’Amore, Founder President IIPT and Peter Kerkar, CEO, COX & Kings who sponsored the Awards.

In his opening address introducing the Awards, Ajay Prakash, President of IIPT India said, “As the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development draws to a close, it’s important to accept that the work is far from complete and that we need to carry the impetus forward into the years ahead. While it’s axiomatic that peace is vital to the promotion of tourism, it is important to reiterate that tourism can be a vital force for the propagation of peace and this can happen only if the concept of Peace Through Tourism forms part of the core business philosophy of the tourism industry.” Commenting on the rationale of the Awards, Prakash continued, “Because tourism is so people centric it is important to recognize and honour exceptional persons in the field who can serve as role models and inspire others to carry the baton.”

Louis D’Amore, Founder President of IIPT recounted the long association that each one of the Award winners had had with IIPT. Each of the Ambassadors was an exceptional person, he affirmed, and IIPT was proud to honour them. Going forward, he said, the IIPT Peace Parks project, the association with Flanders to mark the centenary of the end of the 1st World War under the banner “No More War” and the “Travel for Peace” campaign would be the focus of IIPT in the year ahead leading up to the IIPT Global Summit next summer. 

Peter Kerkar, CEO of Cox & Kings, principal sponsors of the Awards paid a glowing tribute to Dr. Taleb Rifai and his leadership of the UNWTO and said that each of the award winners was a person who had changed the world for the better and Cox & Kings was proud to present the Awards. He quoted Taleb Rifai’s simple formula for achieving peace, “What’s good for my neighbour is good for me.”

Helen Marano, Director Government & Industry Affairs WTTC referred to the recent seminal study by WTTC on Tourism as A Driver of Peace which, based on data collected over 8 years, established the first empirical relationship between tourism and peace correlating the parameters of the Global Peace Index and the Tourism Index.

Mr. Jay Kumar Rawal, Tourism Minister of Maharashtra commended IIPT on the work it was doing to recognise global icons of Tourism for Peace and Sustainability. He went on to explain the Indian concept of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which essentially means “The World is One Family” and referred to the recent Government of India initiative to hold a “Paryatan Parv,” a celebration of tourism for 20 days in October to bring people together. 

In his Keynote address, Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO said that for the 7th consecutive year, the growth in tourism had exceeded growth in other sectors. However, he said, tourism is far more than numbers and statistics; to travel is a basic human right. Quoting Mark Twain he said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness…” The 1.8 billion tourists expected to travel the world by 2030 could be 1.8 billion opportunities, or 1.8 billion disasters – the choice, he said, is ours. There is no conflict between growth and sustainability, he said, because sustainability is beyond “Going Green” it’s about sustaining life on Earth. “As I come to the end of my journey as Secretary General,” he said “the thought I would like to leave with is ‘Whatever you do, do it to make the world a better place.’”